S.A.F.E. & THE BE-FAIR PIRATES DECLARE SEATTLE AN â€˜EVICTION FREE ZONEâ€™
"We've been hornswaggled by Wall Street long enough. The scurvy dogs at Bank of America, Chase and the rest must 'walk the plank' for plundering America and hanging homeowners out to dry."
Washington-based Backbone Campaign and SAFE, Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction, introduced a swarthy new crew of pirates to Seattle this during this Seafair. Calling themselves the Be Fair Pirates, members of the organizations arrived by land and sea to take Seward Park by storm, calling attention to the plight of underwater homeowners and demanding relief. Approximately 30% of American homeowners have "underwater" mortgages; their mortgages are higher than the value of their homes.
As an "underwater" home bobbed precariously in the waves of Lake Washington, an enormous puppet depicting a Wall St. Banker was sinking the home and its family deep into the water. The BeFair Pirates sailed to the defense of the beleaguered family shouting "Arrrrrrrrrrgh!!! Pain for the many, profit for the few; Wall Street Bankers we're comin' for YOU!" and sent the banker plummeting into the lake. As the safety of the family and their home were restored, cheers were heard from pirates and bystanders on the shore.
17% of Washington state homes are in distress according to the August, 2011 report "Win/Win Solution" produced by New Bottom Line. The report recommends universal principal reduction for all underwater mortgages. Win/Win targeted the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA), the agency responsible for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA who hold over 50% of US mortgages, calling on them to implement a universal, automatic principal reduction for underwater mortgages. New Bottom Line projects that universal principal reduction would pump $71 billion dollars into the economy each year and create over one million jobs annually.
Bill Moyer, Executive Director of Backbone Campaign, spoke of the possibility for homeowners "Imagine the incredible relief we could bring American mortgage holders while simultaneously stabilizing the housing market for all, by allowing families to keeping their homes and stimulating the economy with money that is currently feeding Wall Street banks." Moyer made it clear, "Universal principle reduction is how we bail out... America." The Treasury Department estimated that principal reduction could benefit taxpayers to the tune of $1 billion. Moyer went on to demand the firing of FHFA head, Ed DeMarco citing his recent decision to reject universal principal reduction for over 11 million homeowners underwater on their mortgages.
The Backbone Campaign / SAFE production highlighted the injustice of the burden transference of the financial failure created by the banks squarely onto the backs of working families.
Earlier in the day, SAFE and the BeFair Pirate chorus delivered a letter to Sheriff Steve Strachann of King County, demanding an end to the use of department resources to evict families from their homes.
Joshua Farris, grassroots organizer for SAFE is challenging homeowners to 'push back' against the greed of Wall Street banks. "SAFE is building a movement in South Seattle to stop banks from destroying our homes, our families, and our neighborhoods. Standing together we can fight and win!"
[Additional photos and links to video will be posted at BeFairPirates.org]